In preparation for their 2010 World Design Capital status, Seoul is undergoing an Olympic-sized design makeover headed up by industrial designer Chung Kyung-won. Chung is the Seoul Metropolitan Government's chief design officer and an ID professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
The Design Seoul initiative has already been underway for several years and has a two-pronged approach: One is to erect public works like the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the "design information facility" shown above; Two is to support design at a local level, targeting SME's (small- and medium-sized businesses) and providing them with design support.
Seoul will put in about 113 billion won over the next three years to improve the design capabilities of SMEs, as well as their industrial competitiveness. The city has already bought an old hospital building in the Dongdaemun area that will be revamped into the Industrial Design Medical Center, a research and education facility.
"In addition to the design medical center, we will build two smaller design supporting facilities in Mapo and Gangnam," he said. "A design base camp connecting designers and small businesses will be established near Guro Digital Complex as well."
...According to Chung, design can revitalize the city during times of economic difficulty.
"Design is not a luxury. It prospers during financial hardships," he said. "Design Seoul is going to maximize and make the lives of citizens better because Seoul invested in design during this economic crisis."
And despite the economic downturn, the importance of design is growing. According to research by the Samsung Economic Research Institute, 52 percent of Korean CEOs indicated design was the core of their competitiveness and 51 percent said they would invest more in design.
"The design management I pursue is not different from the Design Seoul concept," Chung said. "I will upgrade successful public design to make the city more comfortable and pleasant and develop the design industry to create revenue and make it a new growth power."
Click here to read more about the initiative.
via korea times